Macquarie University
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Cloud adoption by small and medium sized enterprises: an Australian study (2015-2016)

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posted on 2022-03-28, 17:14 authored by Bahjat Fakieh
Cloud computing is predicted to provide organisations with the flexibility to compete effectively in a rapidly changing business environment. Adopting cloud services will increase opportunities for achieving competitive advantage and improving business outcomes. This is particularly important in the Australian Small and Medium Enterprise(SME) sector as more than 99% of Australian businesses are in this category.Industry studies (e.g. MYOB) show the uptake of cloud computing in Australian SMEs in 2011 was around 20%.Compared to other OECD countries, the adoption of cloud computing by Australian SMEs appears to be significantly lower. For example, Flood (2013) predicts that 75% of American businesses and 61% of British businesses utilise cloud services. Another example, South Africa (a non-member of the OECD), has 52% of SMEs (including micro businesses) using cloud services (Hinde and Belle, 2012). The overarching research question is "what are the adoption rates and critical success factors and challenges for Australian SME adoption of cloud computing to achieve competitive advantage?"In this thesis, the adoption rate of cloud computing by Australian SMEs in 2015-2016, as well as the drivers of adopting cloud computing as critical success factors, and the possible cloud challenges to Australian SMEs were explored among 470 SMEs in six Australian cities, which were Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra, Wollongong, and Newcastle. This research provides an objective bench markon the status of SME adoption of cloud computing in the Australian context.Resource Based Theory(RBT) and the Technology, Organization, Environment(TOE) theories were combined in this study to develop the conceptual framework. The research consisted of two phases. The first phase was a quantitative survey to explore the adoption rate of cloud computing by SMEs and to understand the success factors and challenges. The second qualitative phase used semi-structured interviews to explore drivers and challenges in-depth from the adopter SMEs' perspectives. ivThe research here contributed to exploring the status of adopting cloud computing by Australian SMEs in 2015-2016, and highlighted possible drivers and challenges when SMEs utilise cloud services. Another outcome was the development of a cloud adoption framework to assess SMEs in understanding the possible influences and challenges if and when they attempt to adopt cloud computing.


Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Introduction -- Chapter 2. SMEs, the national economy and competitive advantage -- Chapter 3. Cloud computing -- Chapter 4. Theories and epistemologies -- Chapter 5. Methodology -- Chapter 6. Quantitative data analysis -- Chapter 7. Qualitative data analysis -- Chapter 8. Discussion -- Chapter 9. Conclusion and future work.


Bibliography: pages 211-228 Theoretical thesis.

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


PhD, Macquarie University, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Department of Computing

Department, Centre or School

Department of Computing

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Peter Bush

Additional Supervisor 1

Yvette Blount


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